January 18, 2017 · Barbecue And Grilling · (No comments)

How To Make Pure Cider Jelly

by

Neal Smith

Greenwood Farm was a unique and beautiful orchard in Northfield, Massachusetts and featured five acres of heirloom and antique variety apples. It also had a Cider House which produced an exceptional sweet cider together with apple sauce, apple butter, cider syrup and pure cider jelly.

Many people have never seen or tasted cider jelly but it is one of the most delicious products in the whole world of gourmet food. It is also one of the most difficult products to make. Unlike apple jelly which is made by adding sugar and pectin to apple juice and has a somewhat insipid taste, cider jelly is a pure and natural product made from fresh sweet cider with nothing added. It is both sweet and tart with a delicate yet pungent taste. If you like the taste of a good sweet cider, then multiply in your mind that taste eight times and you will get a sense of what cider jelly tastes like. It is wonderful on fresh bread or toast or as a condiment to many dishes.

Cider Jelly is made by the rapid evaporation of fresh sweet cider and is very difficult to make commercially because of the precise requirements of the pectin in the juice. But I will tell you how to make excellent Cider Jelly in your own kitchen, a true jelly that is clear and soft enough to hold firm and quiver gently on a spoon, like the very best of jellies.

First of all, get a gallon the freshest sweet cider that you can. Supermarket cider may work depending on how long it”s been on the shelf. The secret is in the pectin and the pectin in apple cider begins to break down as soon as it is made. That break down occurs faster if the juice is not kept cold. That is also why the juice has to be boiled down as quickly as possible. Once in the kitchen you will use the two large burners on your stove. You will need two large pots with a gallon put into each pot. Using only one pot will take too long, the pectin will break down and you will get something akin to axel grease rather than good jelly. With the burners on high begin to boil the cider. This process should take 45 minutes and give you two 8oz jars of cider jelly. As the boils begin all of the natural albuminous matter that makes sweet cider cloudy will come to the surface and should be skimmed off on a somewhat continuous basis with a slotted spoon. This is not essential to the taste of the finished jelly but will make it clearer and more visually appealing.

With about ten minutes to go one of the pots will begin to show nearing the end point as the boiling cider show larger and thicker bubbles. At this point combine the juice in one pot and you will be close to the end. Have ready nearby two jelly size jars and a tight mess strainer, as for loose tea. I use a two cup Pyrex pitcher and strain into it through the strainer. It is a good idea to have the jars warm to prevent cracking from the hot jelly (about 221 F). Getting back to the stove, watch very carefully for the end point of the boil. From the outside towards the middle the bubbles will begin to get larger. When about 1/3 of the bubbles get to be about inch or larger you have reached the end point. Quickly pour into the Pyrex and you are done. How much you have in the Pyrex will give you a good sense of how your jelly will be. Much more than two cups and your jelly will be too thin or not jelly at all. Much less than two cups and your jelly will be too firm.

Good luck! We at

Gourmet Food Marketplace

would love to hear about your efforts and results. And we would love to hear what you think of Cider Jelly.

Neal Smith lives in Montague, Massachusetts and is the web manager for an on-line gourmet food marketplace for some of the finest foods produced in New England including fresh lobster and seafood, bisque and chowders, Vermont cheddar and maple syrup, gourmet coffee, raw honey, fresh salsa and barbecue sauces, and homemade oatcakes.http://www.gourmetnewengland.com

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